Tracks of the week Reviewed: WILLOW, Billie Eilish and Shelley FKA Dram

WILLOW - Transparent Soul

Transparent Soul” represents Willow Smith's latest single, it is a pop-punk record that deployed the skills of Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker on the drums. This moves to be her first release since her collaborative project “R I S E” with the talented artist Jahnavi Harrison. The song serves as the first single of a proposed album scheduled to be released later within 2021.

Her rock influences have been steadily formed from childhood when she accompanied her mother Jada Pinkett Smith while she toured with her heavy metal band Wicked Wisdom.

That was my first real tour experience, and that was the first music that I was surrounded by as a child,” she says. “When I first started doing my own music and my parents got me a vocal coach, we only did pop and R&B kind of vibes, and so for my entire life, I didn’t think I had the voice to sing this kind of music or sing rock in general.

Willow Smith told Rolling Stone that the song was inspired by a quote she read from Hindu guru Radhanath Swami that goes: “It is said that a saintly person is so pure that he or she acts like a spotless mirror. When we come in the presence of such a mirror-like soul, we can see both the beauty and ugliness of our inner life. I read that quote, and it really spoke to me,” Smith says. “And that’s kind of how the idea of this song came to be.” (1)

WILLOW captures these ideas within her lyricism as she manages to create a self-therapeutic environment through critically analysing herself as well as the relationships present within her life. She then later moves to admonish the aforementioned parties, and uses the chorus as a thinly veiled threat to retain the degrees of transparency and clarity that lay within her grasp “Transparent soul / I can see right through, just so you know / Transparent soul / I can see right through, just so you know

This track does however lie within the margins of grunge and pop-rock and in turn leans heavily on a backing electric guitar and up tempo drum sequence to help embody this enigmatic genre mesh.

Billie Eilish - Your Power

Your Power” is the latest release from the sensational Billie EIlish. The song is set to join the previously released “My Future” and “Therefore I Am” on her highly anticipated sophomore album “Happier Than Ever” . The song was written and produced by her Grammy award winning brother Finneas and Eilish herself curated the treatments for the video of the track.

Billie EIlish said the following on the track “This is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written,”. “I feel very vulnerable putting this one out because I hold it so close to my heart. This is about many different situations that we’ve all either witnessed or experienced. I hope this can inspire change.

The words present within the track reflect these ideas as Billie is seen to detail the pitfalls of infatuation and the idealism that masks its essence ; as she discloses the power disparities that lay present within her past that moved to evoke large degrees of vulnerability. The most damning lines lay present within the pre-chorus where Billie is seen to question the integrity of the antagonist and whether the depths of their remorse are predicated on the exposure of the ordeal. “How dare you? / And how could you? / Will you only feel bad if it turns out / That they kill your contract? / Would you?

The backdrop is very simple in nature and features an ever-present mid to low tempo guitar riff. This allowed for Billie’s vocal prowesses to be given the perfect stage to delve into the earnest themes evident within this song.

Shelley FKA Dram - Beautiful

Beautiful” features on Shelley FKA Dram’s self titled album “Shelley FKA Dram”. Aside from a few singles and his 2018 EPThat’s A Girl’s Name” Shelley has stayed relatively distant from the music industry. The project showcases all elements of classic RnB syncopation and to help cultivate this sound he leaned on the talents of Summer Walker, H.E.R. and Erykah Badu.

Shelley FKA DRAMA spoke on Instagram on how he was using this project to honor his late mother “As some of you may know my mom passed away last year,” he began in the caption. “Before she passed I played her my upcoming album and I begged her to promise she wouldn’t play it for anyone else. She held her promise and took the music with her beyond this life. Her birthday is April 29th, so I’m pushing my album Shelley FKA DRAM’s release date to April 29th as not only my gift back to her, but my promise to play it for the world.

The track “Beautiful” can be seen to be an ode to Shelley’s girlfriend and over a measured tempo intersped with a double bass , a gentle piano riff and muted soft whistles a wide range of metaphors are introduced, as Shelley attempts to detail the hypnotic and intoxicating quintessence of her very being.

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